[Blueboard] Aug 29 Lecture of Chinese Magsaysay Awardee

Ari Dy S.J. ady at ateneo.edu
Fri Aug 24 09:47:48 PHT 2007

Ateneo de Manila University

Special Lecture by Chinese Magsaysay Awardee Tang Xiyang


The Ricardo Leong Center for Chinese Studies, Ateneo de Manila University  (??????????????) has invited Mr. Tang Xiyang (???), 2007 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Peace and International Understanding, to give a special lecture at the university's Escaler Hall (Loyola Heights, Quezon City campus) at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 29th.  The topic of his talk is "Heeding Nature's Wisdom, Preserving Humankind."


Tang Xiyang was born in 1930 and graduated from Beijing Normal University.  He became a reporter for the Beijing Daily in 1952.  In 1957, he was denounced as a Rightist and spent many years as a laborer in the countryside.  His wife died during the Cultural Revolution and his two daughters had to take care of themselves.  It was in labor camp, paradoxicallym that Tang found himself "surrounded by flowing waters, . . . singing birds, and rustling leaves." His despair lifted and, he says, "Nature saved me." 


Exonerated in 1980, Mr. Tang became editor of a magazine called "Great Nature???" and began exploring China's nature reserves. In Yunnan, he met fellow nature-lover Ms. Marcia Bliss Marks, an American who became his wife and partner. As they explored China together, Mr. Tang wrote prolifically about the richness and variety of China's wildlife and animal habitats. Later, the pair toured fifty national parks and wildlife refuges in Europe, North America, and Asia, to learn how other countries were caring for the earth. Mr. Tang's book about their trip, A Green World Tour, introduced its readers to nature preservation as a global movement and became the bible for China's young environmentalists.  


In 1996, Tang Xiyang and his wife Marcia, who was already afflicted with cancer, invited twenty-one university students to spend their summer holidays in Yunnan at a "Green Camp," where local officials planned to harvest logs on a one-hundred-square-mile swath of old-growth forest, the unique habitat of the golden monkey. The research and publicity arising from the Green Camp helped pressure the government to change course. Buoyed by this success, Mr. Tang began organizing Green Camps every year, dispatching a fresh team of students to a different site each summer-from Tibet's primeval forests to the beaches of Hainan. Graduates of the Green Camps have now organized spin-off camps all over China and can be found today among the staff members of China's environmental NGOs. Meanwhile, Mr. Tang himself lectures tirelessly throughout the mainland-delivering 130 lectures in seventeen cities in 2005 alone. 

He tells audiences that nature follows its own law. If the natural law is violated, "nature will seek revenge." This is why preserving the habitats of brown-eared pheasants and red-crowned cranes and golden monkeys is inescapably linked to preserving a healthy habitat for humans. 

Mr. Tang stresses that preserving nature is not China's problem alone. It requires global cooperation. "China needs to know the world," he says, "and the world needs to know China." 


Aside from Tang, there are two other Magsaysay awardees from China this year.  Mr. Du Cong  ?? and Mr. Chen Guangcheng ??? are both awardees for Emergent Leadership. Du is being recognized for his response to the problem of AIDS in China while Chen is being recognized for promoting ordinary people's legal rights.
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